Having been a nurse for….well, let’s just say many years (PHEW), I know that it’s important to teach several important things about medication management that help a caregiver to administer a medication to their loved one safely and properly.  Some of these things include:

  • Taking the medication in the right dose
  • Taking the medication at the right time
  • Taking the medication through the right route (you’d be surprised where some medications have been found)
  • Taking the medication the right way (with food, 2 hours before or after food, etc.)
  • The indications for taking the medication
  • The possible side effects of the medication
  • Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction to the medication, and
  • Foods (or sun) to avoid while taking the medication

Most healthcare providers teach these same things, BUT…it is not uncommon for healthcare providers to neglect to ask the individual (and/or caregiver) how taking this new medication will affect their daily routine or their life.

It  is the individual (or their caregiver) who will decide if the mediciation will even be purchased.  Then once purchased, it might not be taken (for instance, the individual or caregiver may remember that their father, aunt or cousin was taking the same medication and did not do well with it).

In my own case, the physician prescribed a powerful diuretic to my father who had dementia and difficulty getting to the bathroom on time.  You’d better believe that I cringed when that medication was prescribed and that I asked if any other alternatives were available because I knew the havoc that it would cause.

But many times the patient and/or the caregiver are reluctant to bring up their ambivalences about the medication or procedure to the physician or other health care provider before leaving the office.

Healthcare providers ought to ask permission of the aging loved one or their caregiver before prescribing a new medication, treatment or surgical procedure, but because that is unlikely to happen anytime soon, we as caregivers need to empower ourselves and our loved ones by asking further information about what is being prescribed.

Here is my list of Who, What, When, Where, Why, How (and I added  “Will”)  to determine if a new treatment is appropriate for your loved one.

Remember:  You are allowed to question the healthcare provider and to say “no”.  This will give the healthcare provider a chance to offer an alternate solution.

  • Who is going to monitor this?  (You? Your loved one?  Home Health Care? The lab?)
  • What good is it going to do?
  • Where will this take place? (home, hospital, etc.)
  • When will this begin and when will it end?
  • Why are we doing this?
  • How will this affect our daily routine?
  • Will it improve quality of life?

As citizens, we are allowed to make decisions about our healthcare and as caregivers, we must be intentional in making the best healthcare decisions for our loved ones, as well.


Do you feel like you need to hit the REFRESH button on your life? Download our free guide and begin to create your best life yet!